Editor’s note: Writing today’s Skinny and filling in for LTW Editor Rick Smith this week is Noah Garrett. You can reach Noah directly at noah@thinkngc.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — At an average of $2.6 million for 30 seconds, the commercials for last night’s Big Game always seem to grab a lot of attention during and after the event.

It truly is the Super Bowl of advertising.

If you were one of the millions who tuned in, you probably noticed that some of the typical players in the Commercial Bowl – such as FedEx, Garmin, and the big three automakers – did not have commercials this year, citing economic reasons.

There were not many technology-oriented ads, either.

No Microsoft. No Apple. No Yahoo!. Many of the industry’s most recognizable names skipped out on the game for whatever reason. But, a few did shell out the bucks – the majority being dot-coms.

Being a true geek, I watched both the game and the commercials with laptop in hand and jotted down every tech-specific commercial so you could see who paid-to-play and which ones were a hit or a miss.

I have to say the best use of technology for ad goes to SoBe with their 3D-animated lizards. It was an effective ad and really took graphic design to a new level. The most creative spot goes to GE and the eco-imagination commercial featuring the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. And, the funniest goes to either Teleflora.com and their mean flower delivery spot or monster.com for the moose-butt spot. Both gave me a good chuckle and were effective in their messaging.

The worst tech ad goes to carmax.com. The “love at first sight” theme can only be described with one word – lame. A close second goes to priceline.com for their tired message featuring William Shatner.

Here’s a complete list of all the nationally televised technology commercials I saw last night. If I missed one, let me know.


• Godaddy.com: They aired two spots. Both featured Indy hottie Danica Patrick. The first was better, but neither were as risqué as previous years. However, the Web’s leading hosting provider never fails to go wrong with Danica Patrick either in the shower or talking about her “enhancements.”

• Teleflora.com: Green gone wrong with these mean, insulting flowers. I actually got a good chuckle on that one, mainly because of my dry sense of humor.

• Cars.com: Overachieving dude who can’t choose a car. Who thought of that one? Puhlease.

• Carmax.com: They went for a “love at first site” theme. Only one word describes it, lame.

• Monster.com: The moose rear right in a poor workers’ face with an executive in the next room over with the moose’s head mounted in a plush office. Sort of symbolic in our current job structure and economic situation, don’t you think?

• Careerbuilder.com: The online job search engine offered the a “repeater” idea with unhappy workers. The “Hey dummy” line, the screaming woman in the car, and the crying dude at the bus stop were the highlights. Overall, pretty funny and effective spot.

• Priceline.com: Tired old commercial featuring with William Shatner.

• Overstock.com: NBA and former Duke Basketball stud Carlos Boozer with his new buddies for overstock.com. Cute commercial and good use of kids to sell products.

• E-Trade.com: I love the infant on the Web cam. This time our mini-stock-trader has a buddy who likes to “flex his golden pipes.” These ads are so effective and inexpensive to produce. Good stuff.

• Cashforgold.com: This featured bankrupt characters Ed McMahon and MC Hammer. Very clever spot exploiting two famously broke stars from the 80s. I’m sure they need the money.


• Vizio: The company used “where vision meets value” tagline. Boring.

• General Electric: Saving the earth one scarecrow musical at a time. That’s the spirit.

Movies and Entertainment

• Monsters vs. Aliens movie trailer powered by Intel/Dreamworks. There was probably a good chunk of change spent on production, since it was 3D. Only time will tell if the investment was worth it.

• Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie trailer. ‘Nuff said … it’s Transformers!

• Hulu.com: "An evil plot to destroy the world. Enjoy." Funny commercial with Alec Baldwin, but didn’t like the tagline. However, this one probably will be talked about a lot this week.


• Sprint Nextel. Not a new commercial with the world run by roadies, but they still managed to have a presence in super advertising, even after announcing job cuts last week.

• Alltel ran a “rerun” with those dorks from the competitive companies and Chad. You know the one. Is anyone else sick of Chad?

My overall assessment of this year’s commercials was average.

There wasn’t really one particular commercial out of all the industries represented that stuck out. But, if I had to pick one, I really liked the Pepsi “forever young” commercial featuring Bob Dylan and Will.I.Am. It goes along with the soda-maker’s core branding of “generations” and was effective use of star power. Second place goes to Doritos. The crunch of the chip making things happen was clever.

You know, I’m pretty sure some will wake up today wishing they didn’t spend millions last night.

Are Big Game ads a waste of money for the future? Should brands spend their money online instead? We’ll see next year, but we may just have reached the peak in traditional media advertising as the Web grows more viral. Just a theory.